Friday, June 30, 2017

Brantley's June 2017 #s

hey there, Brantley fans! it's time for another blog recounting Michael's performance over the past month. but let me first thank everyone who read my Brantley's May 2017 #s blog and Brantley's 2017 #s Through May blog. i did notice some new views from Nepal and Kazakhstan in June, so i also have to give a special welcome to my audience in South and Central Asia!👋 if anyone else is a fairly new reader here, tell me where you're from by shouting out your city/state/country/continent in the comments!

now without further ado, here is everything you need to know about Michael's month of June.


June Overview

if you thought May wasn't Michael's greatest performance, then you may be indifferent to his June. he started the month out kind of slow, missed some time due to the birth of his child, and then was placed on the 10-Day DL with a right ankle sprain immediately following his paternity leave. upon his return, he had some early rust, but then seemingly got back on a roll. when it was all said and done, Michael missed almost half the games on the Tribe's June schedule, playing only 13 of the 27 total games. so it's a small sample size that we're working with here to critique
and under the circumstances, i don't think i can legitimately be too harsh on him. (and neither should anybody else.)

i will not lie. i was personally disappointed that he had to sit out so many games again. not only that, but the Indians did an exceptional job in his absence. it was all too reminiscent of last year, when the team looked like it did not miss or need Michael anymore. so for his fans, having this occur yet again was a sad realization, particularly because his contract for 2018 is a team option and there is a possibility that the Indians may not pick up...😓 but i digress.

in his first 10 games, between June 1-14, Michael bat .278 (10-for-36) with 4 doubles, 6 RBI, 3 walks, and 2 outfield assists. he was out for the next 13 games between June 15-26. so in his last three games between June 27-29, he bat .500 (5-for-10) with 2 doubles, 2 RBI, and 2 walks. (i was hoping to split this up in a more even way but it just made more sense to do it before he was out and after.) overall, Michael had a June batting average of .326. Michael's season batting average currently stands at .306, six points higher than where it was at the end of May.

there were no significant hitting streaks for Dr. Smooth, though he did finish the month with a modest 5-game streak that could grow into something larger in July. he also reached base 21 straight games between May 12 and June 3, and had an 18-game reached base streak at home that spanned from the end of April and into June.

now let's break down the homestands and series away from the corner of Carnegie and Ontario. the month began with the fourth game of a series at home versus the Oakland Athletics. after being held hitless and ending his hitting streak during the final game of May, Michael got himself going again with a 1-for-3 effort.

the Indians then went on the road to face the Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies. in the three-game set against KC, Michael played the first two games, going an exceptional 4-for-8 with three singles, one double, and a stolen base. he got the finale game off to give him two consecutive rest days since the team had a break in the schedule before their two-game series against Colorado. during the Interleague match-up, Michael endured his usual troubles and went 0-for-8 at the plate. altogether though, because of his performance in the KC series, he was 4-for-16 on this trip.

when the Tribe got back to Progressive Field, they had two three-game series, first versus the Chicago White Sox and then versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. after coming off his typical poor Interleague play, Michael needed to make up for it with some strong divisional play. sadly, he couldn't deliver, going just 2-for-12 in the ChiSox series with an RBI single, double, and run. his struggles even carried over to his defense, as he committed an error in the outfield, which is very unlike Mike. more telling of his cold bat was the fact that he compiled three 0-fers in the five total games between the Colorado and Chicago series.

after the team's third off day of the month, the Dodgers came to town. the timing couldn't have been worse because Michael did not need to face another NL team. surprisingly though, he did quite well. he only played in the first two games and went 3-for-5 with two doubles, three RBI, run, and two walks. Michael finished with a 5-for-17 performance at Progressive Field.

next, Indians hit the road to play a four-game set, including a doubleheader, against the Minnesota Twins, and then a four-gamer against the Baltimore Orioles. Michael did not travel with the team for the same reason he missed the last game of the homestand--he was with his wife and new baby. (read the Baby Brantley section of this blog further down for more information about that.) surprisingly, the Tribe didn't seem to miss Michael at all, winning every game without him.

Michael met up with the team in Baltimore, but he missed that whole series because he was on the 10-Day DL with a right ankle sprain.

the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers ventured to Cleveland for a three-game series and four-game series, respectively. Michael was still on the disabled list when the Tribe and Twins faced off, but he returned in time to at least play the Rangers three times. in his first game back, Michael, who'd been out for nearly two weeks, showed some obvious rust. but for the series, he went 5-for-10 with two doubles, two RBI, two walks, and a run scored.

the Indians were supposed to finish off June by beginning the first of four road games (in three days) against the Detroit Tigers. however, the game was postponed due to rain and will be made up in September. some guys on the team maybe could have used the extra day off, but Michael did not. as it stands, Michael has only played three games since coming off the disabled list after a 12-day rest period. it's time to for him to be playing on a regular basis, getting on a roll again, and adding to his stats for the year.

days missed aside, are you pleased with Michael's numbers in June? why or why not? leave me a comment with your thoughts!


The Rest Is For His Own Good

Terry Francona gave Michael the day off in the fourth game of the month/third game in the Kansas City Royals series on June 4, and Michael was not happy. from Paul Hoynes' article on cleveland.com, the manager revealed, "he fought me on it a little bit, but i think he needed it. i'd rather him be mad at me and finish the year strong. we always talk about doing the right thing regardless of how things are going. in the long run i have a responsibility to him. he would have played two games today. but we have a day off tomorrow and i think it will really help him going through the whole year."


Baby Brantley

Michael was not in the starting lineup versus the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 15. he left the team to be with his wife for the upcoming birth of their baby, according to Tom Hamilton on the WTAM 1100 radio broadcast. Hammy also informed listeners that Terry Francona said Michael would be gone the whole weekend, missing the four-game series against the Minnesota Twins, and would rejoin the team on Monday, June 19 in Baltimore.

following the Dodgers game, Tito explained in a video FOX Sports Ohio's youtube channel that Michael tried to plan it so that his wife would be induced after the game, around 4:30 pm, so that he could play. but she began having contractions during the night, so he became unavailable for the finale of that Interleague series.

on June 16, the Indians placed Michael on the Paternity List. baby boy Maxwell Brantley was born on June 15. i wrote a separate blog with all the details here.

from a cleveland.com youtube video, Francona spoke more about Michael and his new addition. "they had a healthy baby boy and we're obviously thrilled for the Brantleys. and, we miss him, but the good far outweighs missing him, and hopefully the rest will even be good for him."

and when a reporter (Jordan Bastian) quipped how having more Brantleys helps the farm system down the road, Tito agreed. "probably. or if not that, the world in general. the more Brantleys there are around, the more better people there are, that's for damn sure."

on June 18, Francona gave an update on Michael in Jordan Bastian's pregame blog on bastian.mlblogs.com. "he's in working out now, probably. i checked in with him a couple hours ago and he was on his way to the ballpark. so, hopefully, everything is a go. one way or another, we kind of have to activate him, because his days [on the paternity list] would be up."

i didn't think anything of it at the time, but the fact that Tito was not definitive about Michael's return could have been a clue about what happened next...

but before we get to that, i have to include a short portion of Michael's postgame interview with in-game SportsTime Ohio reporter Andre Knott on June 28 here. the following came from a video on FOX Sports Ohio's youtube channel.

Knott: important question. you're a father again. are you finished?
Michael (smirking): i'm finished. this is it, no more. no more.
Knott: does your wife know that?
Michael: yes, yes. yes, she does. we're in agreement, we're in agreement. we had our last one.

i guess four is enough.👨👩👦👧👦👦


The Right Ankle Spain Returns and Lands Michael on the DL

on June 19, the day Michael was supposed to come off the Paternity List, he was placed on the 10-Day DL with a right ankle sprain. this was a surprise to everyone because after he returned on May 12 from his sprained ankle on May 7, no one said anything about his ankle bothering him again. evidently, he'd been playing with continued ankle soreness and injured it again on June 2 when lunging at 1st base in a game at Kansas City. and this was all kept under wraps until the Brantleys' new baby boy arrived. that's when the Indians decided, since he'd already been out for three days and his ankle was still bothering him, it'd be best to put him on the DL and give him another week to get it to heal up.

Michael did not need to go out on a minor league rehab assignment, thankfully, since he wasn't out for too long. the only rehab he really did was some running on the treadmill and running drills in the outfield before his final test of running the bases. he was eligible to come off the disabled list on June 26. and he did, but he was not in the starting lineup since he'd only just run the bases in the afternoon. Terry Francona elected to have him be available off the bench if needed (but he wasn't).

all-in-all, Michael missed 13 games between June 15-26. (there was a doubleheader mixed in there on one day and another day Michael wasn't on paternity leave yet. so yes, my count is accurate.😜)

after what felt like an eternity, Michael returned to the lineup versus the Texas Rangers on June 27. a couple of times that he was batting, Tom Hamilton told WTAM 1100 radio listeners that Michael admitted it was hard to stay sharp while being out for 12 days. Hammy said Michael did a lot of hitting off the pitching machine and cranked it up to Major League velocity while he was out, but that's not the same as facing live pitching. he stressed that Michael might have to shake off some rust and will need a few games to get his timing back at the plate. (i didn't like hearing that because i wanted him to finish the month strong, especially since he didn't put up the greatest stats in his first 10 games in June, and with it being the end of the month with only a few games left to play upon his activation, the last thing he needed was more adversity.)

i already posted separate blogs with more detailed information about all of this, so i kept the section here short and sweet. if you're interested in those posts and haven't read them yet, feel free to check out:
Brantley Moved from Paternity List to 10-Day DL with Right Ankle Sprain
Brantley Activated from DL (w/ Right Ankle Updates)


More BOP Changes

in June, Terry Francona proved he was not afraid to try new starting 9 combinations. and he tried several. but one guy who never got moved was my boy, Michael.😀 #respect

before Michael was out from June 15-26, here is how the top 2/3 of the order looked. Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor were always batting in front of Michael, except for two games when Kip did not play--then Daniel Robertson and Bradley Zimmer both led off one game this month. Carlos Santana was the cleanup hitter and Edwin Encarnacion bat 5th when he played. Jose Ramirez bat 5th when EE got a day off and didn't play in a National League park. otherwise, Ramirez owned the 6th spot in the lineup. Zimmer and Austin Jackson took Hosey's place when he bat 5th.

but of course, that was not the lineup for the entire month. when Michael left the team on June 15 to be with his wife for the birth of their child, Tito finally decided to reinsert Encarnacion back into the cleanup spot and move Santana down to 5th. Santana was demoted even further to the 6 hole on June 16, while Ramirez bat 5th behind Encarnacion.

there were a lot of other moving parts over the next three games, including Ramirez being moved up to the 3rd spot. on June 18, Lindor led off, Kip bat 2nd, and Lonnie Chisenhall bat 5th. the irregular changes were mainly due to a doubleheader and having to rest certain players, aside from Michael's absence.

all that said, when Michael was gone, Ramirez turned into a hitting machine in his 3rd spot. so naturally the question became, will Michael maintain his lineup spot upon return? "i really like Brant hitting in the three-hole," Francona disclosed before the June 18 game in Jordan Bastian's blog on bastian.mlblogs.com. "and, as well as [Ramirez] is hitting, now that Edwin's heated up, it makes him really [valuable]. he protects Edwin in a number of ways, because he's a switch-hitter. it's like Victor with Miggy when Victor is really [locked in]. i like that a lot."

to my dismay, Michael did not return on June 19 as expected, but instead went on the 10-Day DL with a right ankle sprain (as i mentioned in the previous section of this blog) and missed the next eight games. in that time, the order changed massively, including Chiz batting 5th ahead of Santana in a handful of contests.

luckily, when Michael was back in the starting lineup at long last on June 27, he was reinstated into the 3 hole batting after Kip and Lindor. Encarnacion was still the cleanup man and Ramirez was 5th protecting him. in a twist however, Chiz was in the 6th spot and Santana was batting 7th. and that's how things stayed for the duration of the month.

as for the batter behind Michael in June, it was Santana before he left the team and missed 12 days, and Encarnacion once Michael returned. other guys who bat in the 5th and 6th spots included Ramirez, Zimmer, Jackson, Chisenhall, and Brandon Guyer. how did they do when Michael got on base? read on.

this month, Michael reached base a total of 21 times via hits, walks and fielder's choices. after getting on base, he only came around to score a run 3 times. but he wasn't stranded 18 times, he was only left stranded 17 times. how is that? because in one game, Michael was lifted for a pinch runner, and even though that run did later score, Michael himself was not left on base, so i cannot count that.

still, only scoring 3 runs for the month is bad. i don't know what it is with this. it's just so odd how players can't seem to hit when Michael is on base, but when he's not, like when he was out for 2 weeks, they hit up a storm. i don't get it. Michael getting hits should not negatively affect the guys behind him. they have to do better, and that's non-negotiable.

are you happy with the Indians lineup right now or do you think a shakeup is needed? let know me in the comment section below!


Areas Of Concern

i won't go overboard here or get too worked up about Michael's numbers this month because he only has about half his usual sample size due to not playing 14 of the team's games in June. that said, i do have a few areas of concern to discuss.

let's start with strikeouts. i thought this issue was over with, but after his performance in June, i am once again concerned. i saw him swinging at balls low and outside the strike zone a lot and while that is understandable sometimes if a pitcher's pitch is deceiving, Michael still had a high amount of strikeouts in just 13 games. yes, he could use the excuse for the last couple games of the month that he was still trying to get his timing back at the plate after being gone for 12 days with the new baby and ankle sprain, but i maintain Michael should be making more contact and swinging at more appropriate pitches. i hope July is better for him in this regard. (i go into this further in the HR, RBI, LOB, K Rate, & Outs section of the blog down below.)

next, i saw a little regression in Michael's 2-out hitting. he'd improved on this last month, but in June, it was still below average. he is going to continue getting a lot of 2-out hit opportunities because he's batting 3rd in the order and if Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor keep struggling to get on base like they have been, the pressure is on Michael to get a hit and try to extend the inning. so he needs to get more hits in these instances.

lastly, for the second consecutive month, i was not particularly impressed with Michael's numbers on the road. i hate to keep using the "he didn't play that much, small sample size excuse," but that is true here yet again. he played four games and went hitless in the two interleague games. so i'm gonna hold back on my complaints and just expect he'll do better in July.

do you have any concerns about Michael's output this month? let me know in a comment below!


June Team Batting Winner

several players used June to emerge from their May funks, so this was an interesting race this month. but because Michael didn't play in 14 games this month, due to him being gone while/after his wife gave birth to their new son and his stint on the disabled list, he did not acquire enough plate appearances to be considered a qualifying player. you need 3.1 plate appearances per game, and he finished June with 1.93. therefore, his .326 batting average cannot be considered for this race.

so the player who had the highest June batting average out of all the qualifiers on the team was Jose Ramirez with his .367 BA. the next closest average was .322, owned by Edwin Encarnacion.

previous monthly batting average winners:
April - Jose Ramirez (.330)
May - Michael Brantley (.293)


Team Leads & Career Highs

if you don't even play half the games on the schedule in a month, you're probably not going to have many stats to compare with the rest of the team.

in June, Michael did not have any team leads.

however, he was tied for 2nd with 1 sac fly and 2 assists among outfielders.

Michael did not set any career highs for himself in June.


HR, RBI, LOB, K Rate, and Outs

for the second straight month, Michael did not hit any home runs. granted, he missed almost half of the Tribe's games in June, but still, it doesn't seem like Mike's going to break out of his long ball drought any time soon. sadly.😟

Michael's RBI total was higher than last month at least. he had 8 ribbies in June in only 13 games (compared to 5 RBI in 24 games in May). and he only left 11 men on base. that's probably because most of his at bats came when nobody was on base, so unless he figures out how to hit homers again, his RBI count won't increase by itself.

since Michael did not hit any home runs this month, i cannot do a HR:RBI ratio. maybe next month.🤞

Michael's K rate in June was 17.3% (9 K/52 PA). he struck out once every 5.8 plate appearances. before anyone overreacts, let's keep in mind that Michael only acquired half the PAs that he normally would, had he played a full month. so while this is bad, it's not a true representation of Michael's ability to make contact at the plate.

i will say, however, that Michael has continued swinging and missing at balls both low and high and outside the zone again, something he had had improved on in May, but took a bit of a step backwards, especially at the beginning of the month. ie. he had 7 strikeouts in his first 8 games of June, and only 2 in his last 5 games.

Michael had a total of 15 groundouts, 4 flyouts, 2 lineouts, and 2 pop outs in June. he continues to make solid contact at the plate, but he's still hitting an overwhelming amount of grounders compared to fly balls, and that is partially why he is not knocking any balls out of the park anymore. even the majority of his hits are coming on ground ball singles. there's still three months left in the season for him to start getting more balls up in the air.


Streaks & Situational Statistics

Michael had a hit in 10 of the 13 games he played in June and reached base safely in 10 games. he had 3 hitless games, reaching base in none. Michael had 4 multi-hit games, 1 three+ hit game, and 3 multi-RBI games. he had at least one RBI in 5 games. he also had 1 go-ahead hit and 1 go-ahead RBI this month. the Indians were 5-8 in games that Michael played in and 10-4 in the games he missed.

Michael had a 7-game hitting streak on the road between May 19 - June 3. it spanned over May 19-23 and June 2-3.

Michael had a 21-game reached base streak between May 12 - June 3 (over 23 days). during this streak, he reached base via a hit, walk, fielder's choice, throwing error, or fielding error.

Michael had an 18-game on-base streak between May 15 - June 3.

Michael had an 18-game reached base streak at home between April 29 - June 10. it spanned over April 29-30, May 12-17, May 24 - June 1, and June 9-10. during this streak, he reached base via a hit, walk, fielder's choice, or fielding error.

finally, Michael has an active 5-game hitting streak as well as an active 5-game hitting streak at home, both between June 13-14 and June 27-29.

in June, Michael bat .308 (8-for-26) against right-handed pitchers and .350 (7-for-20) against left-handed pitchers. i'm happy to see him improve against southpaws this month and that he performed well against both types of pitchers. even if he didn't play that much overall this month, this is the consistency i expect from him.

Michael bat .367 (11-for-30) with 8 RBI in 9 of 14 games at home. he hit safely in 8 of the 9 home games he played in and safely got on base in 8 of them. he was hitless in 1 June home game and did not reach base in it.

Michael bat .250 (4-for-16) with no RBI in 4 of 13 games away from Progressive Field. he hit safely in 2 of the 4 road games he played in and safely reached base in 2 of them. he was hitless in 2 road games, reaching base in none.

Michael hit .545 (6-for-11) with runners in scoring position, producing 8 RBI in June. more specifically, he hit .667 (2-for-3) with RISP and 0 outs, .500 (3-for-6) with RISP and 1 out, and .500 (1-for-2) with RISP and 2 outs. this is a big improvement for him, even if he did not have that many at bats.

with 2 outs in an inning in June, Michael bat .263 (5-for-19). he had 3 doubles, 1 RBI, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts swinging. i can't necessarily fault him for the low RBI total, as a lot of times he will bat in the 1st inning with 2 outs and nobody on base. but i am still waiting for him to have a really good month in this category, where he bats over .300.

additionally, he hit .444 (8-for-18) with 8 RBI with runners on base and 1.000 (1-for-1) with 2 RBI with the bases loaded this month.

Michael also bat .250 (7-for-28) with the bases empty. he had 4 doubles, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts (4 swinging, 1 looking). i suppose if he's going to struggle anywhere, i'd rather he struggle when no one was on base.

furthermore, Michael had a 0.3 fWAR (wins above replacement), a 124 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus--the ability to create runs compared to the league average), and a 0.8 BsR (baserunning runs above average with stolen bases and caught stealings) in June. these numbers do not rank among the 13 qualifying American League left fielders because Michael did not play enough to be considered a qualifier this month. [these stats all came courtesy of fangraphs.com.]


Versus AL Central Division Teams

vs. the Kansas City Royals, Michael bat .500 (4-for-8) in 2 of the 3 road games in June. (he had 1 scheduled day off during the series.) the Indians went 0-2 in the games he played in and won the game he did not play in. overall, Michael had 3 singles and 1 extra base hit--a double--as well as 1 stolen base (2nd), 1 first at bat hit, and 5 total bases. he also had 2 strikeouts (1 looking, 1 swinging), but did not leave anyone on base. furthermore, he had a .500 OBP, .625 SLG, and 1.125 OPS. as the left fielder, he played 15 innings, but only 1 complete game because he was lifted for a pinch runner in the top of the 8th inning in 1 game because the Indians were losing a blowout and Terry Francona wanted to give him some extra rest. he totaled 3 putouts as well. aside from not being able to acquire any RBI, Michael put together a good performance in his two games against KC.

vs. the Chicago White Sox, Michael bat .167 (2-for-12) in 3 home games in June. the Indians went 2-1 in the games he played in. overall, Michael had 1 single and 1 extra base hit--a double--to go along with 1 RBI, 1 run, 1 first at bat hit and 3 total bases. he also had 2 strikeouts swinging and left 3 men on base. furthermore, he had a .167 OBP, .250 SLG, and .417 OPS. while playing left field, Michael recorded 2 putouts and 2 assists, but committed 1 error in 27 total innings/3 complete games. this was an atypical series for Michael offensively, and the fielding error he was charged with was unexpected as well. his go-ahead RBI single and the two assists he acquired, both in the same game, were the main positives here. i hope he performs better against this team next month.

when the Indians played the Minnesota Twins, Michael missed all 7 games--4 on the road and 3 at home--in June. he missed all 4 games in the road series because he was with his wife for the birth of their child and on the Paternity List, and he missed all 3 games in the home series because he was on the 10-Day DL with a right ankle sprain, but had just begun running on the treadmill/drills in the outfield. the Indians went 4-3 in the games he did not play in.

the Indians were supposed to play 1 road game against the Detroit Tigers in June (the first of a 3-day, 4-game series, including a doubleheader, that continued into the beginning of July), but the game was postponed due to rain and will be made up in September.


Interleague Play

in June, Michael played five of six games against two National League opponents, going 3-for-13 and batting .231 overall. needless to say, his Interleague woes continue.

vs. the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field (no designated hitter allowed), Michael bat .000 (0-for-8) in 2 road games in June. the Indians went 0-2 in the games he played in. overall, he had 2 strikeouts swinging and 3 men left on base. furthermore, his OBP, SLG, and OPS were all .000. in the field, Michael played 16 innings/2 complete games in left and recorded 2 putouts. it was a forgettable series for Dr. Smooth.

vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers at Progressive Field, Michael bat .600 (3-for-5) in 2 of the 3 home games in June. (he missed the final game of the series when he left the team to be with his wife who was about to give birth.) the Indians went 0-2 in the games he played in and won the game he did not play in. overall, he had 1 single, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, 1 sac fly, 1 run, 2 walks, 1 first at bat hit, and 5 total bases. he also stranded 1 runner. furthermore, he had a .625 OBP, 1.000 SLG, and 1.625 OPS. in the field, Michael played 18 innings/2 complete games in left and recorded 1 putout. this was a very good short series for him.


League Rankings

first off, because Michael did not play enough to be a qualifying player for the month of June, i cannot compare his batting average, OBP, SLG, OPS, or strikeouts with other players around the league. i can rank the rest of his stats, except most of them are not in the Top 10. 

among qualifying left fielders in the American League, Michael ranked tied for 3rd in sac flies (1), tied for 4th in doubles (6), and tied for 9th in RBI (8).

among qualifying outfielders in the American League, Michael was tied for 7th in sac flies.

among qualifying players in the American League, Michael did not have any stats ranked in the Top 10.

among all qualifying left fielders in the Major Leagues, Michael was tied for 5th in sac flies and tied for 6th in doubles.

among all qualifying outfielders in the Major Leagues, Michael did not have any stats ranked in the Top 10.

among all qualifying players in the Major Leagues, Michael did not have any stats in the Top 10.


June Standout Games, Spotlights, & Quotes

on June 1, Michael acquired a multi-RBI game, his first since April 30, versus the Oakland Athletics. it started when he drew a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the 6th inning. Michael faced right-handed starter Jharel Cotton with Erik Gonzalez at 3rd base, Jason Kipnis at 2nd, Francisco Lindor at 1st, nobody out, and the Indians up, 1-0. after a 3-1 count, Michael checked his swing for ball 4 to score Gonzalez and put himself on at 1st.

his second ribbie of the game came in the bottom of the 7th inning, when the Tribe had a 6-0 lead with Kipnis at 2nd base, Lindor at 1st, and no outs. after a 1-2 count from former Indian, right-hander John Axford, Michael hit a ground ball single into left field that scored Kip. but then the ball went under the glove of A's left fielder Mark Canha and continued to roll further into left. so not only did Lindor also score, but Michael was able to advance all the way to 3rd base. the play was credited as an RBI single and two-base error. the only downside of the inning was that the next three batters could not bring Michael home.

Michael went 3-for-4 in the game against the Kansas City Royals on June 2, for his second 3-hit game of the year. he got his first hit in the top of the 1st inning with Lindor at 1st base and 1 out. on an 0-1 count, he hit a line drive single to right field off lefty Jason Vargas.

in Michael's next at bat, he led off the top of the 4th inning, swung at Vargas' first offering, and sent another line drive single to right field again.

his third hit also came off Vargas, which was great to see after Michael had struggled against southpaws in the month of May. with 2 outs in the top of the 6th inning and the game still scoreless,
he hit a ground ball single to 3rd base after a 2-2 count. then when Carlos Santana was batting, Michael stole 2nd base (as ball 1 was thrown on an 0-1 count). per Tom Hamilton on the WTAM 1100 radio broadcast of the game, Michael had a really good jump to steal 2nd safely. regrettably though, he was left stranded all three times he got on base.

Michael only had one hit in the game on June 9 versus the Chicago White Sox, but it was an important one for him. with Kipnis at 2nd base and 1 out in the scoreless game, Michael faced right-hander Miguel Gonzalez. after a 3-1 count, he sent a line drive single into left field. Kipnis was waved home and Michael advanced to 2nd base on the throw to the plate. that RBI single not only gave the Indians a 1-0 lead, but it also marked Michael's first go-ahead hit and go-ahead RBI since April 26!

SportsTime Ohio in-game reporter Andre Knott interviewed Michael on the field after the game. he spoke about getting a lead early, continuing to perform and defend home field, and using the bad games as fuel to always be ready to compete. you can watch it in full on the FOX Sports Ohio youtube channel.

on June 12, an Indians off day/MLB's draft day, Zack Meisel posted an article on cleveland.com containing some player reactions to being drafted. here's what Michael shared about being drafted in Round 7 in 2005: "i was at Indian River College, where my mom worked. we were in a conference room, watching the draft. i got a phone call in the fifth round, bud i didn't get drafted until the seventh, so it was really quiet. it was a waiting game for me. it was a dream come true. it's a great experience. i didn't know whether i was signing or not at the time, but i was fortunate enough and blessed enough to be drafted. i'll never forget it."

Michael had a perfect night in the game on June 14 versus the Los Angeles Dodgers, going 2-for-2 with two doubles, two RBI, one run scored, and a walk. his first double came in his first at bat in the bottom of the 1st inning with 2 outs. after a 2-2 count from right-hander Brandon McCarthy, he hit a ground ball into right field for a double. Santana left him stranded.

photo courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer

in Michael's second plate appearance in the bottom of the 4th, the Indians were down, 2-0. McCarthy threw Michael three straight balls before he got a called strike. then Michael fouled off the next two pitches. with the count full, McCarthy threw Michael ball 4 and so he drew a 1-out walk. he moved up to 2nd base on a Santana groundout, but Edwin Encarnacion ended the inning with a flyout.

Michael got his first RBI sac fly of the season in the bottom of the 6th inning. the Tribe still trailed, 2-0, but they had Bradley Zimmer at 3rd base and Francisco Lindor at 1st with only 1 out. the Dodgers had just made a pitching change, bringing in the left-hander Grant Dayton to replace McCarthy. after a 2-1 count, Michael hit a fly ball to medium-deep right-center field "at best," according to Hammy's call on the radio. but because Zimmer has speed, he was able to tag once Yasiel Puig made the catch and safely slide into home to put the Indians on the board. the pitch sequence went: called strike, ball, pickoff attempt at 1st, ball, sac fly.

in Michael's fourth plate appearance, he faced left-handed reliever Luis Avilan in the bottom of the 8th inning with 1 out, Lindor at 2nd base, and the Indians behind, 6-2. after fouling two pitches and then taking a ball, Michael sent a line drive to center field, good for an RBI double. that gave him his first multi-hit game since June 2 and first multi-RBI game since June 1. following a Dodgers pitching change, Michael later came around to score on Encarnacion's 2-out single.

photo courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer

Michael was not with the team when they played their game versus the Dodgers on June 15 because his wife was about to give birth. the next day, on June 16, Michael was officially placed on the Paternity List and Francona said he wouldn't rejoin the Indians until June 19 in Baltimore. i knew that with Michael gone and not playing to increase his batting average, he would probably lose that team lead as well as his others while he was away, especially because Jose Ramirez's bat had been heating up recently. (when Michael went on paternity leave, he led all the qualifying players on the team with his .296 batting average and .360 OBP. he also had a team high 7 stolen bases.)

sure enough, Michael no longer led the team in batting average after the June 16 game against the Minnesota Twins. Ramirez had a big game and brought up average up to .298 vs. Michael's .296. since May 12, Michael'd maintained the highest BA of all the qualifying players--until this game. i admit, it was sad to see him get displaced under these circumstances (when he didn't wasn't even around to bat and potentially increase his BA like Hosey did).

following the end of the June 18 game against the Twins, Michael had additionally lost the only other team lead he'd had this season, in stolen bases and OBP. at that point, he was tied with Jose Ramirez in the stolen base category, second in BA to Ramirez (.313), and 3rd in OBP behind Edwin Encarnacion and Ramirez.

it was a very unfortunate time for Michael to be away from the team because not only did the Indians win every game he missed, but everyone got a lot of hits. and i know had Michael played in these games, he could have increased his average up and over .300 and added to his stats for the month as well. the same thing happened the last time he went on Paternity Leave in September 2013--the Indians faced the New York Mets and demolished their pitching and Michael missed out on it all. (and i was very [embarrassingly] pissed about that lol luckily now i am a bit more calm and understanding about such things haha)

upon Michael's return to the Tribe on June 27, he was 30 points behind team batting average leader Ramirez, who'd gotten his BA up to .326 over the 13 games Michael missed. in four at bats versus the Texas Rangers, Michael went 1-for-4 with a single that came in his last AB in the bottom of the 9th inning. the rust that Hammy mentioned (that i wrote about in the The Right Ankle Spain Returns and Lands Michael on the DL section of this blog up above) was pretty apparent, as he was swinging at some pitches that he normally wouldn't offer at.

in Michael's second game back from the DL, on June 28, he had a better game versus the Rangers despite having to face right-handed starter Yu Darvish, a pitcher he had a .067 (1-for-15) lifetime batting average against. overall on the night, Michael was 2-for-4 with 2 RBI singles. the first came in the bottom of the 3rd inning with Kipnis at 3rd base, Lindor at 1st, no outs, and the Indians up, 1-0. after two pickoff attempts at 1st, Michael hit a ground ball single up the middle and into center field off Darvish on a 1-1 count. that was a big hit for him considering his career numbers.

photo courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer

Michael acquired his next RBI single with the Indians leading, 3-1, in the bottom of the 7th inning and the bases full of Tribesmen--Zimmer at 3rd (who was walked), Roberto Perez at 2nd (who also walked), and Lindor at 1st (intentionally walked to load the bases). the Rangers just brought in left-hander Dario Alvarez, and after a 1-1 count, Michael swung at a fastball away and smacked a line drive single into left field to extend the lead to 4-1. this marked his first hit with the bases loaded this year, as well as his first official at bat with the bases loaded because his two prior trips to the plate in this situation were only plate appearances since he drew a walk both times.

photo courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer

this multi-hit and multi-RBI game was Michael's first since June 14, or second in his last three games played.😜

Michael's two other at bats against Darvish showed why he has such a low average when facing him. Michael reached base on a fielder's choice in his first AB in the bottom of the 1st when he hit a grounder to 2nd base on an 0-1 count to force out Lindor who'd been on at 1st base. it also appeared as though Michael still had some rust when he swung at a ball from Darvish that was low and outside in the bottom of the 5th inning for a strikeout.

predictably, Michael was interviewed after the game. Knott started off by commenting how Michael does a lot of hard work, but he comes back and it doesn't seem like he misses a stroke at all. "yeah, work ethic, you said it. just go out there and... when i'm not on the field working, i'm in the cage working. if i'm not in the cage working, i'm looking at video and just trying to get better. i'm just glad to be out here with my team again, healthy and able to contribute in a positive way."

the rest of the video can be found on the FOX Sports Ohio youtube channel if you're interested in hearing Michael's thoughts on this particular game and the big crowd.

in the game versus Texas on June 29, Michael acquired not only another multi-hit outing, but had a perfect day at the plate, going 2-for-2 with two doubles, two walks, and one run scored. in his first at bat in the bottom of the 1st inning with 2 outs and the Indians down, 1-0, Michael hit a line drive double down the right field line off righty Andrew Cashner after a 1-1 count.

photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

Michael's second plate appearance came in the bottom of the 3rd inning with Zimmer at 3rd base, 2 outs, and the game tied at 1. Cashner threw Michael four straight balls to walk him. Paul Hoynes tweeted that he didn't think Cashner wanted any part of Michael with a man on 3rd. Michael advanced to 2nd base on a wild pitch during Encarnacion's at bat, but did not score once again.

Michael led off the bottom of the 6th inning with the Tribe up, 2-1. he swung at Cashner's first pitch and sent a line drive high and off the base of the wall in right field for his second double of the day. that gave Michael two multi-hit games in a row and two, two doubles-games in his last four, with the previous coming on June 14 before he left the team and missed 12 days/13 games.

photo courtesy of @SportsTimeOhio on twitter

and this time, Michael did score a run when Encarnacion hit an RBI single to right to give the Indians a 3-1 lead.

in Michael's fourth and final plate appearance of the game in the bottom of the 7th inning, the Tribe was ahead, 5-1. with Lindor at 2nd base and 1 out, Michael faced right-handed reliever Nick Martinez. after a 3-0 count, ball four was thrown and Michael drew his second walk of the day. and so Michael reached base all four times in this game.

although Michael hasn't been back in action for long, Tito is still impressed. according to Hoynsie's cleveland.com article on June 30, the skipper commended him. "i lump Brantley and Kluber together in work ethic. what Brantley has done (since he's returned) isn't just luck."


In The Field

in June, Michael recorded 10 putouts and 2 assists in 13 total defensive chances. regrettably, Michael also committed 1 error this month, which gave him a very less than perfect .923 fielding percentage.😲 it's unfairly his worst monthly fielding percentage since he's been in the majors, but that's not completely his fault.

see, his fielding percentage was particularly appalling, i mean low, because there were several games he played when he didn't record any putouts (which is the only way to increase your FP after an error). additionally, he missed five games after his wife had a baby and another eight because of an ankle sprain, taking many opportunities away from him to play the field and improve that FP. so in spite of these uncharacteristic circumstances, i cannot hide my disappointment.

but let me get into some of the positives for Michael as the left fielder this month. on June 10, Michael achieved a career first by throwing out two runners in the game versus the Chicago White Sox. like always, i wrote a separate blog commemorating this occasion, which you can read here. nonetheless, i still want to spotlight his defensive prowess in this blog as well.

Michael's first outfield assist of the month came in the top of the 2nd inning with 2 outs, Melky Cabrera at 1st base, and the Indians losing, 4-0. Jose Abreu hit a line drive double to left field on a 1-1 count from Josh Tomlin. after Michael fielded the ball out of the corner, he quickly spun around and threw it to shortstop Francisco Lindor, who threw the ball home. catcher Yan Gomes caught the relay and tagged out Cabrera before he was able to slide safely into home plate.

his second assist of the game (and fifth on the year) took place in the top of the 5th inning. Indians reliever Nick Goody was now on the mound with the Tribe only down, 4-2. Abreu led things off and after a 1-1 count, he sent another line drive into left field. Michael ran to the ball and then fired it in to 2nd baseman Jason Kipnis. Abreu, who apparently did not learn from his previous at bat when Michael contributed to throwing a runner out, tried to stretch a single into a double. in order to avoid colliding with Kipnis, he overslid the bag. Kip dove back and flailed his arm around until he successfully tagged Abreu out on the hand.

unfortunately, before either of those assists, Michael committed his first error of the season. it happened in the top of the 2nd inning. the Indians trailed, 3-0, when Leury Garcia stepped to the plate to face Tomlin with 1 out. after a 2-2 count, Garcia hit a high fly ball to left. Michael ran over towards the foul line, but after he "made the catch" while still in fair territory, the ball popped out of his glove as he squeezed it. then, as he braced himself for the crash against the side wall, he fell down. by the time Michael got up, recovered the ball and threw it in, Garcia was at 3rd base. (Garcia later scored to extend Chicago's lead.) and so the official scorer charged Michael with a fielding error.

photo courtesy of Chuck Crow via The Plain Dealer

William Kosileski's article on indians.com unveiled that the play had a 55% catch probability, per Statcast, and Michael covered 86 feet in 4.5 seconds to get to where the ball was going to land.

"that would have been a great play," Tomlin  "i talked to [Brantley] on the bench about it. he was trying to take blame for it. he was playing the guy kind of a pull-gap a little bit. he made an unbelievable play on the ball. he got there, he's close to the wall right there, tried to make a good play right there. good players still make mistakes. if he made that play, it would have been an unbelievable play."

this marked Michael's first error since August 29, 2015. it was also his first error after 80 consecutive games played in the outfield spanning from August 31, 2015 to June 9, 2017. (don't forget, he only played 11 games in 2016, so that is an accurate timeline.)

Kosileski's article further mentioned that prior to this game, Michael had played 3,563.2 innings in left field, dating back to 2013, and only committed two errors. so it was indeed a rare miscue for a guy who's normally a very reliable outfielder.



now let's break down the numbers. i am going to document his June #s and the 3rd spot #s, as well as the left field #s, 3rd + left field #s, and overall outfield #s.


June batting average: .326

OBP: .385

SLG: .457

OPS: .841


Michael played in 13 (of 27) games, 11 complete, in June.

he started and played left field in 13 games, completing 11 of those games, appearing in 13 total.

he was subbed out defensively in 1 game after 7 innings because the Indians were winning a blowout and he had done more than enough in the game.

he was lifted for a PR in 1 game in the top of the 8th inning because the Indians were losing a blowout.

he missed 1 game due to the birth of his child.

he missed 4 games while he was on the Paternity List.

he missed 7 games while he was on the 10-Day DL with a right ankle sprain.

he got 2 scheduled games off.


Michael bat 3rd in 13 games.


Michael played left field in 13 games. (11 complete,  1 subbed out: 7 innings, 1 lifted for PR: 7 innings)

Michael played in 11 complete games.



in June, Michael had a total of 52 plate appearances and 46 at bats. here is how he fared:

15 hits

6 extra base hits

9 singles

6 doubles

8 RBI

1 sac fly

3 runs

5 walks

1 stolen base (2nd)

9 strikeouts (8 swinging, 1 looking)

4 first at bat hits

21 total bases

11 left on base


10 putouts

2 assists

1 error

110.0 innings, 13 games

(11 complete games)

June batting average: .326 (15-46) (13 games)


now let's break down his numbers based on where he hit in the lineup.


when Michael bat 3rd in June, he had a total of 52 plate appearances and 46 at bats in 13 games. breaking down the numbers are as follows:

15 hits

6 extra base hits

9 singles

6 doubles

8 RBI

1 sac fly

3 runs

5 walks

1 stolen base (2nd)

9 strikeouts (8 swinging, 1 looking)

4 first at bat hits

21 total bases

11 left on base


10 putouts

2 assists

1 error

110.0 innings, 13 games

(11 complete games)

June batting average in the 3rd spot: .326 (15-46) (13 games)


when Michael bat 3rd and played left in June, he had a total of 52 plate appearances and 46 at bats in 13 games. breaking down the numbers are as follows:

15 hits

6 extra base hits

9 singles

6 doubles

8 RBI

1 sac fly

3 runs

5 walks

1 stolen base (2nd)

9 strikeouts (8 swinging, 1 looking)

4 first at bat hits

21 total bases

11 left on base


10 putouts

2 assists

1 error

110.0 innings, 13 games

(11 complete games)

June batting average in the 3rd spot while playing left: .326 (15-46) (13 games)


when Michael played the outfield in June, he had a total of 52 plate appearances and 46 at bats in 13 games. breaking down the numbers are as follows:

15 hits

6 extra base hits

9 singles

6 doubles

8 RBI

1 sac fly

3 runs

5 walks

1 stolen base (2nd)

9 strikeouts (8 swinging, 1 looking)

4 first at bat hits

21 total bases

11 left on base


10 putouts

2 assists

1 error

110.0 innings, 13 games

(11 complete games)

June batting average while playing the outfield: .326 (15-46) (13 games)


now let's break down his numbers specific to where he played in the outfield.


when Michael played left in June, he had a total of 52 plate appearances and 46 at bats in 13 games. breaking down the numbers are as follows:

15 hits

6 extra base hits

9 singles

6 doubles

8 RBI

1 sac fly

3 runs

5 walks

1 stolen base (2nd)

9 strikeouts (8 swinging, 1 looking)

4 first at bat hits

21 total bases

11 left on base


10 putouts

2 assists

1 error

110.0 innings, 13 games

(11 complete games)

June batting average while playing left: .326 (15-46) (13 games)


June #s while playing left: 10 putouts, 2 assists, 1 error, .923 fielding percentage (110.0 innings, 13 games)

June #s while playing the outfield: 10 putouts, 2 assists, 1 error, .923 fielding percentage (110.0 innings, 13 games)



now here are my game-by-game numbers and notes.

Game 1 of 1/Game 45 of 52, June 1: 1-3, RBI walk, RBI single. AVG: .301
[3rd/LF/GS7]

Game 2 of 2/Game 46 of 53, June 2: 3-4, single (first at bat), single, single, stolen base (2nd). AVG: .311
[3rd/LF/CG8]

Game 3 of 3/Game 47 of 54, June 3: 1-4, double. AVG: .309
[3rd/LF/GS7] 

^^Michael was lifted for a pinch runner in the top of the 8th inning after hitting a double.^^

Game /4 & Game /55, June 4: scheduled day off.

**Michael's 7-game hitting streak on the road, 7-game on-base streak on the road, 18-game on-base streak, and 21-game reached base streak end**

Game 4 of 5/Game 48 of 56, June 6: 0-4. AVG: .303
[3rd/LF/CG8]

Game 5 of 6/Game 49 of 57, June 7: 0-4. AVG: .296
[3rd/LF/CG8]

Game 6 of 7/Game 50 of 58, June 9: 1-4, RBI single (first at bat). AVG: .295
[3rd/LF/CG9]

**Michael's 80 consecutive errorless games in the outfield streak ends** 

Game 7 of 8/Game 51 of 59, June 10: 1-4, double, run. AVG: .294
[3rd/LF/CG9]

^^Michael has first-career two-assist game^^

**Michael's 18-game reached base streak at home ends**

Game 8 of 9/Game 52 of 60, June 11: 0-4. AVG: .289
[3rd/LF/CG9]

Game 9 of 10/Game 53 of 61, June 13: 1-3, RBI single, walk. AVG: .289
[3rd/LF/CG9]

Game 10 of 11/Game 54 of 62, June 14: 2-2, double (first at bat), walk, RBI sac fly, RBI double, run. AVG: .296
[3rd/LF/CG9]

Game /12 & /63, June 15: not with the team. he left to be with his wife, who was about to give birth. he will be back on Monday, June 19.

Game /13 & /64, June 16: placed on Paternity List.

Game /14 & /65, June 17 (Day Game): still on Paternity List.

Game /15 & /66, June 17 (Night Game): still on Paternity List.

Game /16 & /67, June 18: still on Paternity List.

Game /17 & /68, June 19: placed on 10-Day DL with right ankle sprain, retroactive to June 16.

Game /18 & /69, June 20: still on DL.

Game /19 & /70, June 21: still on DL.

Game /20 & /71, June 22: still on DL, took batting practice.

Game /21 & /72, June 23: still on DL, ran on treadmill.

Game /22 & /73, June 24: still on DL, ran outside.

Game /23 & /74, June 25: still on DL, did running drills outside, cutting, etc.

Game /24 & /75, June 26: activated from 10-Day DL but not starting, available off bench.

Game 11 of 25/Game 55 of 76, June 27: 1-4, single. AVG: .295
[3rd/LF/CG9]

Game 12 of 26/Game 56 of 77, June 28: 2-4, reached on fielder's choice (first at bat), RBI single, RBI single. AVG: .299
[3rd/LF/CG9]

Game 13 of 27/Game 57 of 78, June 29: 2-2, double (first at bat), walk, double, run, walk. AVG: .306
[3rd/LF/CG9]

June 30: game postponed, to be made up September 1 at 1:10 pm in day-night DH.
[3rd/LF]

~~Michael ends the month with an active 5-game hitting streak and 5-game hitting streak at home~~



so far in 2017, Michael has 240 plate appearances and 216 at bats in 57 games (484.0 innings). in total, he has 66 hits, 20 extra base hits, 46 singles, 15 doubles, 5 home runs, 30 RBI, 1 sac fly, 25 runs, 22 walks, 1 intentional walk, 1 hit by pitch, 7 stolen bases (6 - 2nd, 1 - 3rd), 1 caught stealing (2nd), 4 GIDP, 37 strikeouts (32 swinging, 5 looking), 17 first at bat hits, 96 total bases, 77 left on base, 91 putouts, 5 assists, and 1 error.

2017 season batting average: .306 (66-216)

OBP: .371

SLG: .444

OPS: .815


for more details about Michael's 2017 #s so far, please refer to my Brantley's 2017 #s Through June blog.


be sure you're following me on twitter @clevelandgirl23 for all your Michael news, including unexpected surprises along with daily stats and facts. i also recommend you sign up for my subscription list so that you can receive email notifications whenever i post a new blog, because i do post unexpected blogs several times a year. to join, you just have to enter your email address in the box underneath the Blog Archive sidebar over on the upper right side of this page.

my new polls for the month of July are also up now (under the About Me sidebar). if you'd like to guess what Michael's July BA will be, how many HR he'll hit, and how many RBI he'll acquire, and/or how many games the Indians will win in July, give it your best shot!

No comments:

Post a Comment